If National Unity leader MK Benny Gantz is interested in joining the government, "let him join," Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar told Channel 13 in a Saturday evening interview.
"At no point did we join a boycott, and anyone who wanted to join this government according to its basic outlines could join in a moment," the minister said when asked about the prospect of Gantz joining the government. "Unfortunately, there were those who chose to boycott, and we are in a situation of a narrow coalition," he said, in reference to the opposition's boycott of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to his ongoing corruption trial.
"We want a right-wing coalition, and we know that Benny Gantz really likes being in the opposition because that's how he gets stronger politically, so we are not an option for him," Zohar estimated. "We are not ready to boycott, if Gantz is interested in joining, let him negotiate according to the basic outlines of the government, and let him join."
Zohar: The government respects High Court decisions
Also asked about the petitions against the legislation to repeal the reasonableness clause, which will be discussed by the High Court, he said: "The government aims to respect the decisions of the High Court, as we have respected them in the past, just as we expect the High Court to respect basic laws - that has been the equation throughout the years.
"We will respect all court decisions. A court is an important body in Israeli democracy, along with the government and the Knesset, but the court must continue to respect the principle according to which basic laws have the status of a constitution, and I hope that this will not be violated."
"Netanyahu's position is clear, throughout his years as prime minister he has always respected the decisions of the High Court, and we will not change the equation, but at the same time we very much hope that we will not find ourselves in a new situation in which the High Court overrules a basic law, this is something that has never happened before," Zohar added.
Regarding the controversies surrounding the planned judicial reform, he stated: "I hear the rumblings but I don't accept that 'we broke the country,' because when I walk around the street, for every person who tells me to stop the legislation, another person says to continue, which means that the people are completely divided."
A complete divide among the Israeli people
"The polls are not related to reform or no reform, it is related to the situation in the country, the situation in the country is a situation that makes people afraid, and probably rightly so, there are many good people who want the reform and there are those who do not want it. Our role is to heal the rift, we want to continue to legislate with a broad consensus."
Zohar then pointed an accusing finger at the opposition: "From a political point of view, these demonstrations are convenient for the opposition, but above all, aside from the small political whims, there is a country to manage, there is a country that needs to do everything to take care of the cost of living and its security, and if there is no cooperation from the opposition, the responsibility is also on them."